"The floodlit icons of civilization went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the threat of climate change."
Solid State LED Lighting
Imagine a lighting technology that has zero "re-strike," infinite dimming, color changing, that's actually brighter in sub-zero environments, that is the most efficient source of lighting (except the sun) known to man-kind (with 99 lumens per watt versus 17 lm/w for incandescents), that can last as long as 50,000 hours (versus 3,000 for incandescents, 10,000 for CFLs), and that is already cost effective in many applications.
That's solid state lighting, or LEDs, short for "light emitting diodes." This breakthrough technology is coming on strong, staging to become the ubiquitous lighting source of the future. This past year, the U.S. Department of Energy published new Solid State Lighting Energy Star criteria, predicting another doubling of LED efficacy in the next five years.
For years, LEDS have been used in computer applications. In the past decade, LEDs have been widely deployed for signal and pedestrian signal lighting. In the past few years, the range of applications for solid state lighting has greatly broadened, even as viable replacements for 400+ watt high pressure sodium parking lot and roadway lighting. In Raleigh, North Carolina an existing parting structure with 1,000-watt high pressure sodium lamps was retrofit with LEDs, resulting in a 60% reduction in lighting energy. Furthermore, there was a four-fold gain in perceived light quality, and a perceived doubling of structure safety.
A symbolic gesture of the vastly important role of energy conservation that began last year in Sydney, Australia, now has gone international. In fact, the event began last year with about 2.2 million residents and 2,100 businesses in Sydney, Australia cutting power consumption by 10.2%. It has now magnified to an intercontinental event - the largest ever voluntary power-down - involving some 200 cities worldwide and more than 100 million people. Thanks to this effort promoted by World Wildlife Fund, on March 29 from 8 - 9 pm, cities around the world turned off unessential lights in a symbolic gesture of the need to conserve energy to care for the climate.
This year, EarthHour followed the cadence of the sun, beginning in Australia, then to the South Pacific, Europe, and North America, from the Sydney Opera House to the Coliseum in Rome to the Sears Tower and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. EarthHour 2008 expanded to countries including China, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea. In Greece there was a special candlelight vigil on the island of Aegina. Tel Aviv's Rabin Square featured a bicycle-powered concert; Nelly Furtado performed in Toronto.
"This is a symbolic initiative that will educate our customers and people worldwide about energy conservation and protecting the environment from future climate change," noted a utility official in Chicago. "Turning off the lights for one hour is a perfect model for the behavioral changes needed to reverse these trends." And then her company - ComEd -- had a little fun. Here's what it suggested Windy City residents do without power!
1. Play the guitar under the stars.
2. Watch the Ferris wheel lights turn off at Navy Pier.
3. Make shadow puppets with a flashlight.
4. Text message your friends to remind them to turn off their lights.
5. Tell ghost stories.
6. Listen to music on your iPod.
7. Buy CFLs at a home improvement store.
8. Snap photos of the skyline.
9. Play a board game with a flashlight.
10. Get out the telescope and explore the galaxy.
Edison Leases Rooftops for Massive Solar Program
"A megawatt a week" is how the new Edison solar procurement is being touted. This past week, Edison's chief was flanked by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and CPUC President Michael Peevey on top of a ProLogis warehouse in Riverside County. The new Edison program - slated for CPUC approval - will lease rooftops from major facilities beginning in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, with a goal of installing 250 MW of photovoltaics in 5 years.
The Edison announcement marks the largest ever utility-sponsored rooftop solar program. It's a major addition to the State's 965 MW of installed PV capacity, more than doubling the current pace of California Solar Initiative installations. Edison's rooftop solar will count towards California's 20% Renewable Portfolio Standard, required of the State's investor-owned utilities by 2010. The $875 million project will require 65 million square feet of panels, an area of about 1,100 football fields or two square miles, and no new transmission lines. Each installation will be in the 1 - 2 MW size range. Edison claims that the systems will power the equivalent of 162,500 homes. For ProLogis, the largest owner, manager, and developer of distribution facilities with 510.2 million square feet in 2,773 properties, its rooftops become assets.
The Wheaton College E-Coalition Recycling IQ Test
1). All but which one of the following items is not recyclable? (Department of Energy)
a. aluminum cans
b. paper cups
c. old tires
2). How much garbage does the average American discard each day? (National Recycling Coalition)
a. 2 pounds
b. 5 pounds
c. 7.5 pounds
d. 10 pounds
e. 3.5 pounds
3). On average, Americans recycle less than one third (19 million tons of the 65 million tons) of the recyclable paper used annually. How many trees could be saved if we recycled the remaining 46 million tons? (365 Ways to Save the Earth)
a. 45 million trees
b. 502 million trees
d. 154 million trees
e. 782 million trees
c. 1 billion trees
4). Recycling is a $236 billion/year industry, creating more jobs than waste disposal and incineration. How many U.S. citizens are employed by the recycling industry? (National Recycling Coalition)
a. 500,000 people
b. 25,000 people
c. 1.1 million people
d. 2 million people
e. 40 people
5). Producing recycled aluminum saves ____% of the energy needed to produce new aluminum? (365 Ways to Save the Earth)
The U.S. could rebuild its entire commercial airplane fleet from all of the aluminum cans discarded every three months! (Environmental Defense Fund)
6). China and Ireland have taken actions toward banning the use of plastic bags. Each year, Americans use 30 billion plastic shopping bags. How long does it takes for one plastic bag to decompose in nature? (365 Ways to Save the Earth)
a. 20 years
b. 35 years
c. 1,000 years
d. 200 years
e. 100 years
It is compelling how small actions can cause powerful effects, especially when done collectively. Recycling is a simple practice which boosts the economy, reduces waste and pollution, saves energy and resources, helps combat global warming, and enforces a more sustainable relationship between humanity and the planet. Remember that your actions have an impact. Next time you go to throw something away, think twice about where it will end up and whether or not it can live again!
- Wheaton College Students, Sierra Flanigan & Allison Andrews
1. B: Paper cups are not recyclable
2. C: Each of us discards 7.5 pounds of material per day
3. E: 782 million trees would be spared
4. C: 1.1 million people are involved in the U.S. recycling industry
5. D: Recycling saves 90-95% of the energy of new material
6. D: A plastic bag takes 200 years to decompose
- Ivy Tsan
EcoMotion Intern Ivy Tsan on vampire power: "I started looking around in my apartment and realized that there were many devices silently performing vampire power actions: adapters, phone chargers, a modem, and the microwave and television. My research suggests that eliminating phantom load can reduce energy costs as much as 10% in most homes. In addition, it can help to reduce CO2 emissions by 2,000 pounds per year. For myself, I now use power strips to make it easy to turn things off and prevent unnecessary power consumption."